2008 Ford Escape Hybrid Performance

$3,673 - $4,580

2008 Ford Escape Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid was new.


Performance: 7.1

Even though hybrids have a reputation for stilted power, reviewers are generally pleased with the 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid's capabilities. Cars.com says that "aside from some hybrid specific drivetrain characteristics, the Escape Hybrid drives like a conventional small SUV."

As Newsday explains, "An SUV with a hybrid gasoline/electric powertrain should be about as close as you can get to having your cake and eating it too."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid gets moving with both a 2.3-liter Atkinson cycle engine as well as a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor with a 330-volt nickel metal hydride battery. The Los Angeles Times appreciates that "under 25 miles per hour and depending on demand, the Escape Hybrid can glide along Flying Dutchman-style on its 94 hp electric motor. Put both power plants online through the Escape's planetary gearset transmission and they make a net 155 hp, enough to spirit the car to 60 mph in less than 10 seconds with a minor symphony of hums, warbles and burrs."

One issue reviewers found is noise. Cars.com notices a "slight shudder" when the engine starts up, "but the engine's noise is more noticeable if you've been traveling awhile in electric power." In terms of the electronically controlled continuously variable transmission, Newsday says, "CVTs have a tendency, though, to accentuate engine noise, and that's the case here whether on acceleration or just cruising. It's not pleasant."

As with any hybrid car, the reviewers find pleasure in the Escape Hybrid's fuel numbers. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2008 Escape Hybrid with four-wheel drive at 29 miles per gallon in the city, 27 on the highways. The front-wheel drive model does even better -- the EPA rates this model at 34 miles per gallon in the city, 30 on highways.

Handling and Braking

According to reviewers, the 2008 Escape Hybrid's extra weight plays devil's advocate to the SUV's handling. The Hybrid comes with an independent MacPherson strut front suspension with lower control arms, coil springs and a stabilizer bar, while the rear has multi-link suspension with lateral links and trailing arms. Unfortunately, the battery pack and motor make for a heavier car that "feels numb and artificial" to Newsday.

Other auto writers still find good points. Cars.com thinks the Escape Hybrid "has fairly stiff suspension tuning that makes for a firm ride," and compares the SUV to class competitors the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Unfortunately, by high speeds the reviewer slightly modifies his tune, saying the ride "doesn't feel as composed," as the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Rounding out the 2008 Ford Escape's chassis is electric power steering, and power-four wheel disc, anti-lock brakes with a regenerative braking system to help charge the battery. A number of reviewers note that between the two Ford Escapes, hybrid and gas, there is some odd trade-off. For example, the non-hybrid Escape has roll stability control but has downgraded its braking system. The 2008 Escape Hybrid, meanwhile, has the disc brakes but not the roll stability control, due to incompatibility with regenerative brakes. Even though the brakes are discs, writers agree that the performance is good but the feel is not. As the Los Angeles Times notes, brake performance is good, "even if the pedal is a little touchy." Cars.com says the brakes provide linear stopping, but "pedal feel is especially poor; depressing it feels like stepping on a sponge."

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